Considering I only thought of visiting this place couple of months back, I can’t believe how much is going on in this town, and how lucky I was to have seen it. There’s a real hip vibe going on here which is mainly due to it being a University town (and one of the larger cities in Thailand), and therefor a large student population here making the bar, live music, cafe, and restaurant scenes top quality and not much different to what you would find in Bangkok (but without the crowds and the price tag).

After my first day in Khon Kaen, it really reminded me a lot like Chiang Mai (when considering the cafe/bar scene) minus the expats. It’s surprising there’s actually not a heap more expats flooding the scene here because it’s got most of what they all look for ie. It’s cheap (cheaper than Chiang Mai actually), got a heap of great cafe’s and restaurants, awesome WiFi EVERYWHERE, and a good variety of transport options (including an international airport). The cafe’s, restaurants and in particular the quality of coffee here was much the same as what I would find Chiang Mai (Nimmenhaimen road), and the young people running these cafe’s have a passion for what they do…making coffee.

I can only cover the cafes I visited on this trip, and this is just a FRACTION of the cafe’s here in Khon Kaen – in fact I pretty much stuck to the cafe’s surrounding my hotel and even then I only covered 15% of the places I wanted to visit, mainly because I ended up going back to the one’s I knew were good and generally – opened early.

Here’s the list

  • Eights a Day
  • Sri Brown
  • Inch and Ounce
  • Class

All the cafe’s in this list make a bangin coffee – so if you visit any of these cafe’s you’ll be getting a good coffee, however they all have their little differences whether it be the vibe, food or location – but this isn’t a “rating” post on coffee, they’re all pretty much equal in my opinion.

So in saying that, I will rate 1 (LOL) – The first of my 4 cafe’s – Eights a Day – who do the best coffee out of the lot in my opinion.

Eights a Day

This place I had on the list since arriving, but somehow I completely forgot about it until the last day of my visit and wanted to check out a different cafe, so I revisited my list and realised I’d forgotten about this little gem. Located in one of the hip cafe areas of Khon Kaen, and a bit off the beaten track, sits Eights a Day cafe serving up some quality coffee and some INCREDIBLE looking toasted sandwiches. You won’t find this place walking up and down the main streets/soi’s, so make sure to check out the map to find this one.

It’s location is part of what makes this place – being in a quiet Soi and off the main roads, it’s a nice quiet little spot and has a nice outdoor garden area with hanging plants to site back and relax over your cup of coffee and breaky. Walking into the place, the first things I noticed was the coffee board featuring all the popular coffee’s I love, like the piccolo latte, cappuccino, doppio and a few others. And for the travelers who need their home comforts of Soy and Almond milk – they have that too.

Price for a coffee here is around 70 Baht, which is actually on the high side for Khon Kaen – but still a great price for a quality coffee (it’s so good in fact I ended up having 3 here in the space of an hour!!).

So here’s a list reasons why you might want to visit these guys.

  • Coffee – quality coffee and a lot of choices. Also have Soy and Almond Milk
  • Ambiance – it’s different and unique to the other cafe’s. Quiet, a nice outdoor garden, and good seating space inside and outside and also includes a large upstairs area.
  • Food – They specialise in toasted sandwiches and burgers – and do an incredible job of this as well.
  • Open early – these guys open at 7am!

Class Cafe

This was the first place I visited in Khon Kaen, mainly because they’re open 24 hours and my bus was arriving at 5:30am, so I needed somewhere that opened early, or in these guys case, open always! Having checked them out on Facebook and some website reviews, I could see that being open 24 hours wasn’t their only advantage, but they actually produced some quality coffee.

There’s a few building to this place. One being the main cafe open 24 hours, the second being a second type of cafe but opens around 6am. Then there’s a main lounge type building out the back with some desks and bean bags for you to co-work, read a book, or just simply relax. Like I said, this place really reminded me of Chiang Mai…but without all the foreigners.

I was impressed with this place, the layout, the ambiance, the opening hours and the quality of coffee! It’s definitely a place you would come to more to “get something done”, as it doesn’t really have the homey, cozy and chill type feeling the cafe’s offer..but if you’re looking for an early morning quality coffee – definitely swing by this joint.

So here’s a list of why you might want to visit these guys.

  • Coffee – quality coffee however it is served in a paper cup even if you dine/drink in
  • Central – It’s close to the main city and main shopping mall
  • Opening Hours – They’re open 24 hours, so if you’re looking for a late night or early morning coffee – this is your best choice.

Sri Brown

OK, so these guys are my favourite – and perhaps partly due to it being my first cafe visit in Khon Kaen and being SUPER impressed with their Pizza and Desserts…but they make a FANTASTIC coffee as well.

Not only will you see all the popular coffee options like a Latte, Doppio, Cappuccino etc., you’re able to choose your own bean, and the prices are really good…oh…and they open at 7am. For me this place ticked all boxes, and probably why it’s my favourite. Eating a pizza here is like eating a pizza in Napoli….but without the noise :-). They do everything to perfection, from the dough, to the ingredients and the way it’s cooked! If you visit this cafe, I definitely recommend trying one of their pizzas.

The ambiance is probably the best of all cafe’s as well – perhaps because you can choose from 3 different type of areas. The cafe is like a converted heritage house, and has a main area where they take your order (this is much like sitting in an old high ceiling house), the second being what reminded me of a green house (long, narrow room with full glass walls and roof looking out to the garden), and the outside area, which….well…is out of this world! Such an amazing and well designed gardened outdoor dining area.

I could talk about this place for ever, but I won’t – I’ll just say if you’re in Khon Kaen and want a coffee, pizza, dessert or simply somewhere different to chill – do yourself a favour and check these guys out!

  • Coffee – Quality, cheap, and you can select your own beans.
  • Opening Hours – They open at 7am
  • Ambiance – Possibly my favourite cafe to site and have a coffee, you need to see for yourself!
  • Food – OK,
    • Pizza: this ain’t a pizza blog, but this could be the best pizza you’ll find in Khon Kaen.
    • Desserts: A great choice of homemade cakes and thick toast to choose from.

Inch and Ounce

These guys were a completely random stop. I was walking down one of the main roads and hanging for break when I came along these guys. Marketing has a lot to do with things – the sign out front, the signage, the interior design of the place when I looked inside just showed “quality”. These guys never showed up on one of my searches, but after reading the menu etc. I could see they specialised in coffee and perhaps only been open for a year or so.

There is not much to say about the outside, as it sits on a main road, so there’s only so much you can do. But the interior was really modern, spacious and used what look to be designer tables, chairs….you name it. You do get a very “empty” and “quiet” feeling walking into this cafe but I find this a good thing if you’re wanting a quite space and in my case, a clear head to get some things done on your notebook.

There’s definitely a “posh” feeling to this place (one which I love when strolling into these cafe’s with my flip flops and singlet), but there’s no judgement or looks you get if you’re just here casually in your early morning bests (PJ’s)!

Coffee was well priced, and although awesome, I have to say, has a VERY different taste to a lot of the other cafe’s. I ordered a cappuccino and a piccolo latte, and I think the taste difference came down to the milk. I can’t say what milk they used – but it was definitely different!

  • Coffee – Quality, cheap.
  • Opening Hours – They open at 7am
  • Ambiance – Posh, spacious, but without the “high so” treatment

  • Overall (Khon Kaen) Coffee Culture
  • Overall (Khon Kaen) Food Quality
  • Overall (Khon Kaen) Ambiance
4.5

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